Slovak prosecutors confirmed on Wednesday that ECB policymaker and Slovak central bank Governor Peter Kazimir had been charged with a corruption-related crime.
“A prosecutor at the special prosecution office brought charges against P.K. for corruption-related crime on Oct. 8,” said Jana Tokolyova, spokesperson for the Special Prosecutor’s Office. She gave no further details.
Kazimir denied wrongdoing on Tuesday and said he would defend himself against the charges.
The Slovak central bank did not comment beyond Kazimir’s statement. The Finance Ministry said on Wednesday it would comment later.
ECB Governing Council members can be removed if they have been found guilty of serious misconduct or authorities provide sufficient evidence that they have engaged in such misconduct.
Slovak news website http://www.aktuality.sk, citing several unidentified sources, reported that Kazimir was charged in a case related to an alleged bribe for the country’s former tax administration chief, who has been charged in several cases and is now cooperating with investigators.
Kazimir’s lawyer, Ondrej Mularcik, confirmed Kazimir had been charged with bribery and would appeal the decision.
He said Kazimir was accused of the lowest of three severities of crime in Slovakia’s penal code that is punishable by up to five years in prison, but gave no details of the case.
Kazimir was finance minister from 2012 until 2019 before he assumed his six-year term at the helm of the central bank. The tax chief was appointed by Kazimir in 2012 and remained in office until 2018.
Slovakia, a central European country of 5.5 million people and a European Union member, has been going through a series of investigations of corruption among public officials since voters elected the current government in March 2020 amid anger over the 2018 murder of a journalist who investigated high-level graft.
Photo – ECB policymaker and Slovak central bank Governor Peter Kazimir. EPA-EFE/FLORIAN WIESER